BORN: Salem, OR, 1981
2006 - 2009: University of Wisconsin (U.W.) Madison, WI: M.A., M.F.A.
2000 - 2004: Pacific Northwest College of Art (P.N.C.A.) Portland, OR: B.F.A.
2003: Studio Art Centers International, Florence, Italy: Study abroad
2016 Augen Gallery, "SUBLIME CRUSH: PAINTINGS BY KENDRA LARSON", Portland, OR
2015 Providence Hospital, Portland, OR
2014 Oranj Studios, Portland, OR
2013 Blackfish Gallery: Fishbowl Window Project, Portland, OR.
Window Project, PDX Contemporary, Portland, OR
2012 RACC Installation Art Series, Portland Building, Portland, OR
2011 Half Dozen Gallery, Portland, OR
Lower Columbia College, Longview , WA
Mt Hood Community College, Portland, OR
Roger W. Rogers Gallery, Willamette University, Salem, OR
George Fox University, Minthorne Art Gallery, Newberg, OR
Helzer Art Gallery, PCC Rock Creek Campus, Portland, OR
Launchpad Gallery, Portland, OR 2010:
Blackfish Gallery: Fishbowl Window Project, Portland, OR.
Half Dozen Gallery: Front Porch Project, Portland, OR
Orlo, Portland, OR
Common Wealth Gallery, Madison, WI
The Knapp House, Madison, WI
2009 Valentine’s, Portland, OR
2008 Madison Municipal Building ARTSpace, Madison, WI
2006 Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton, New Zealand
2017 UPCOMING, “Solastalgia,” an internationally traveling group exhibit, PCC
2016 UPCOMING, the TV show Portlandia.
2015 Pataphysical Society, Portland, OR
2014 Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Novato, CA.
2013 Milk Factory Gallery, Chicago, IL
Sylvannia, Iceland, South Africa, Chicago, and New York.
The Arts Center, Corvallis, OR
University of Nevada, Reno, NV
Gallery Homeland, Portland, OR
Jacobs Gallery, Eugene, OR
Marylhurst University Art Gym, Portland, OR
Nisus Gallery, Portland, OR
2012 Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA
2011 False Front Gallery, Portland, OR
2010 Lewis and Clark College, Hoffman Gallery, Portland, OR
2009 University of Minnesota, Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, MN
2008 Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI
2007 Overture Center for the Arts, Madison, WI
2006 Hall Gallery, Portland, OR
Boise State University, ID.
Gallery Homeland, Portland, OR
Domont Studio Gallery, Indianapolis, IN
Gallery Homeland, Portland, OR
2015 The Daily News, Longview, WA, January 2015
2013 Oregonian, Portland, OR, March 2013
2012 Art Ltd Magazine, September 2012
East Bay Express, August 2012
2011 Saatchi Online Magazine, http://magazine.saatchionline.com
Three Fifty Five, London UK, Sept. 2011
2010: The Bear Deluxe, No. 30, Portland, OR
Madison Magazine, Madison, WI, May 2010
2009: Tree Sap Magazine, Portland, OR
2008: The Isthmus, Madison, WI, February 8, 2008
Submit Magazine, No.1 and No. 2, PNCA, Portland, OR
2011 Signal Fire Retreat, http://www.signalfirearts.org/, OR
2006 New Pacific Studios, Masterton, New Zealand
2005 Caldera Arts, Sisters, OR
Awards and Grants:
2012 Regional Arts & Culture Council Portable Works Collection, Portland, OR.
2011 Purchase Award, Oregon Department of Forestry, John Day, OR.
2008 Fellowship Nominee, Dedalus Foundation, New York, NY.
2006 Regional Arts & Culture Council Professional Development Grant.
Purchase Award, George Fox University, Newberg, OR.
My work seeks to depict landscapes that maintain a reverence for the history of painting, but ultimately give contemporary voice to our understanding of place. Landscapes can speak to power, commodity, Romanticism, nostalgia, allegory, fear, and wonderment. While they are rich in complexity, the idea of a landscape is malleable. In other words, mankind defines and impacts nature. Our depictions of place and ideas of beauty reflect that. As the painter Gerhard Richter once wrote, “Every beauty we see in landscape – every enchanting color effect, or tranquil scene, or powerful atmosphere, every gentle linearity or magnificent spatial depth or whatever – is out projection; and we can switch it off at a moment's notice, to reveal only the appalling horror and ugliness.”My most recent series of nineteen paintings created between January and December 2015 explores this malleability by connecting real places and transforming them into imagined ones.
Until recently, I have felt obligated to depict real locations, feeling as though I owed nature truthful observational representationalism. Like the Romantic painters, I felt in awe of the sublime and wanted to ride that wave of beauty. This new series is my attempt to break free from depicting specific places and to see what creating “real-simulated” images might bring to the conversation about art and ecology. Borrowing a collage aesthetic creates abrupt connections, subtle perspective shifts, and challenges the traditional idealization of nature. My work often playfully depicts natural phenomenon. At the same time, there is an underlying brooding darkness and mystery. I feel like I have succeeded if my work balances that duality.
This series is a reaction to the contemporary practice of framing, constructing, and deconstructing the landscape: humankind’s marks on the land. My paintings are constructed places and, in turn, remind the viewer that landscape paintings rely on human definition. Our hopes and fears help define which landscape is desirable and which is not. These ideas of perception and constructing realities are at the heart of this series.
The first thing Kendra Larson learned to draw was conifer trees when she was seven. It was with her mom on a hike just north of Seattle. The air was crisp and it smelled like pines. There were mushrooms and slugs hiding in plain sight. Her mom showed her how to make the tree trunks darker on the sides to make them look cylindrical. Taking the time to observe the shadow shapes, Kendra worked the graphite to a stub. Larson was born in Salem, Oregon and lived there until she was eighteen. She moved to Portland and received her BFA from the Pacific NW College of Art and, following a residency at Caldera in Sisters Oregon, she began drawing large scale, charcoal landscapes. Full of awe and Romanticism, these drawings depicted the haunting mood and regenerative qualities of burnt forests. In 2006, she attended a residency in New Zealand, a land that was clear cut to make way for farming. These stark rolling hills gave her a better appreciation for how nature is understoodin the Pacific Northwest: a balance between treating the woods as a recreational treasure, spiritual beacon, and economic commodity.
Later that year, Kendra moved to Madison, Wisconsin for graduate school. She quickly became homesick for the dewy NW air and the undulating mountainous horizon. Making images of her home made her feel better and that nostalgia was woven into her work. While at UW, Kendra taught undergraduates how to draw from observation and excited in them an interest in art. She also opened an art gallery called the Project Lodge. Juggling her painting, teaching, and the gallery was a challenge that, in the end, helped Larson develop a strong studio practice. Her thesis work consisted of forest paintings and painterly sculptures of woodland creatures. The work played up themes of mystery, fear, and myths tied to the wilderness.
In 2009, she received her MFA in Painting and Drawing and returned to Oregon. Kendra married Christopher Buckingham in 2010 at Silver Falls State Park. Today, they live in NE Portland with their dog. Kendra is active in the art community; she’s part of a painting collaborative, an adjunct art professor, a volunteer at Disjecta Art Center, a committee member at RACC, and a board member of Orlo. Her artwork continues to depict the northwest pines and mushrooms, but with a perspective of someone that has been away. As the saying goes, distance makes the heart grow fonder. Her paintings, formally speaking, balance painterly, expressionistic brush strokes with hard-edge illustrative elements. Conceptually, these paintings are mysterious and playful. As Andres Fourie, a curator at Willamette University, wrote about her work: “The paintings seem to give flesh to the childhood fantasy that one could be the first human being to set foot in an unspoiled land.” Her work continues to push the perception of landscape paingint using the Pacific Northwest as a foundation.
Larson’s work has been shown in venues including The Art Gym, The Arts Center Corvallis, PDX Contemporary, Augen Gallery, Blackfish Gallery, Hoffman Gallery (Lewis and Clark College), Rogers Gallery (Willamette University), and Minthorne Art Gallery (George Fox University). She has exhibited outside of Oregon in venues including the Swarm Gallery in (Oakland, CA), Milk Factory Gallery (Chicago, IL), Nash Gallery (Minneapolis, MN), Boise State University, Sheppard Contemporary (Reno, NV), Domont Studio Gallery (Indianapolis, IN), and Overture Center for the Arts (Madison, WI). Her artwork has appeared in publications such as The Bear Deluxe and Tree Sap Magazine.